James Aiono, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound lineman from Murray High, has given the University of Utah an early commitment — choosing the Utes over BYU and Oregon.

"I really like the vibe I got from the guys there," Aiono said. "They really cared about me. Not only as a football player, but as a person. That's the thing that was pretty important to me."

Aiono, who will be a senior this fall, is scheduled to become a fourth-year starter for the Spartans. Though primarily a defensive end, he's also played offensive guard and tackle. Murray coach Keeko Georgelas plans to add tight end to his repertoire this year.

"Opportunities are endless for this kid," Georgelas said. "He's got a great work ethic, and I think he's just going to be a great addition for the Utes."

Aiono, he added, has special skills.

"He's got great quickness for the first five yards, as quick as anybody I've coached," said Georgelas, who noted that Aiono is more advanced at this stage than players like the Kaufusi brothers (Jason and Steve) and Sione Pouha were. Aiono's work ethic, he continued, is comparable to that of Fui Vakapuna.

"He's a great kid," Georgelas said. "He'll help them wherever."

Aiono, who wanted to stay close to home, is glad to have the recruiting process behind him — allowing him to focus on his academics and his senior season.

"I know where I want to go," he said. "I just want to get on my horse and just do it, buckle down and do what I need to do."

Aiono joins Spanish Fork quarterback Griffin Robles in giving the Utes an early commitment.

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